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Freedom of Speech Is Only Freedom to Lie To Women

Freedom of Speech Is Only Freedom to Lie To Women

There is a movement across the country to try and regulate crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) and require them to place signs out front explaining that they do not provide abortions nor give out referrals to abortion providers. 

CPCs, which are almost entirely run by anti-abortion religious activists, many of whom are almost as interested in converting the women who come through the doors to Christianity as they are “saving” the fetus that is inside her, routinely set up next door to women’s health clinics in order to take advantage of clients who get their directions confused or step into the wrong building.  With proper signage, women would know before they enter the door that if they were seeking an abortion, they were in the wrong office, and only those who are seeking to continue their pregnancies would go in.

Apparently, not being allowed to trick women into entering the building and be talked out of ending the pregnancy is a violation of freedom of speech, or so claims CPCs in Baltimore, Maryland.  And now a judge agrees.

Via the Baltimore Sun:

Baltimore drew national attention 14 months ago with the legislation, sponsored by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake when she was City Council president, that required the centers to post signs saying that they don’t refer clients for abortions or birth control.

In a decision issued Friday, U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis wrote that the requirement violates the centers’ constitutional right to free speech. Ruling in a lawsuit brought against the city by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore and a counseling center it supports, he declared the ordinance “unenforceable.”

It somehow violate free speech to ask a clinic to explain up front that they will not be providing abortions or birth control, despite the fact that a majority of the women entering the building are looking for just those services.  However, multiple states have been forced by legislators to require doctors who are performing abortions to recite scripts to women, telling them misleading “facts” like abortion causes breast cancer, abortion could cause pain to a fetus, or that abortion will “terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”

Apparently freedom of speech is dependent on whether a woman is intending to continue her pregnancy or not.

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66 comments

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12:00PM PST on Feb 25, 2011

Shannon H., you're right. The U.S. has gone crazy to regulate women. We're treated as children, unable to think for ourselves, make decisions for ourselves. I'm glad I'll be dead in a decade or two, because seeing my country go this way, breaks my heart for my daughters and all the other young women who will be fighting the same battles we have for 40 yrs.

The country actually is going in a progressive path, with more people realizing and supporting progressive ideas, but there is a large portion of mean-spirited people, who are ignorant or uneducated, fearful (of what?), have low self-esteem, and want for them and no one else. Which is like the child threatened by a parent showing love to a sibling -- and the parent replies, "there is enough love to go around." I'll keep fighting, but I'm tired, and thought retirement would be peaceful.

7:45AM PST on Feb 17, 2011

Every day I feel more and more sorry for American women. From an outsiders perspective, it looks like every day is a backwards slide into the days where women had no choices at all. Just today alone, I read articles on North Dakota wanting to ban all abortions, the Republicans wanting to redefine rape and now this. I hope your country throws off the religious fanaticism that seems to dictate most of America's choices, and join the rest of the civilized countries that allow women the freedom to choose what is best for them.

5:58PM PST on Feb 8, 2011

thanx for article

12:34PM PST on Feb 5, 2011

Damn right there should be clear signs that tell women that these CPC's don't perform abortions and do not give abortion advice!

7:32PM PST on Feb 2, 2011

I hope to hell these CPCs do NOT receive ANY taxpayer funding!!! Now THAT is a clear violation of separation of church and state. By the way, when are we going to start TAXING churches, so they can start paying for representation the way we private citizens do?!?!?

5:51PM PST on Feb 2, 2011

Tom...you CLEARLY don't "get it." It's about choice...not coersion....choice. Lying and misrepresentation to a woman in crisis is just EVIL. I guess it's ok to LIE FOR THE LORD?

4:15PM PST on Feb 2, 2011

I'm willing to bet that even the presence of a fully-labelled Crisis Pregnancy Center would become objectionable to abortuary staff -- as they see their intended clientele suddenly decide at the last minute to seek help rather than a quickie termination. A much better outcome for both mother and child, but not for the abortuary's bottom line.

It's better that Planned Parenthood be the ones that scream. And they will...

12:04PM PST on Feb 2, 2011

Thanks for such good points, Sue...I can't send you another star but you should know you spoke for all of us who became pregnant while carefully using birth control.

I get WEARY of having self-righteous people sniff down their noses and suggest women are irresponsible or should just "keep their legs together," or, worst of all..."just don't have sex if you don't want a baby!"

Unless you've found yourself unexpectedly pregnant and don't want to give birth...you'll never know the difficulty of it!

11:00AM PST on Feb 2, 2011

sadly noted, thanks.

8:23AM PST on Feb 2, 2011

These CPC's should be required by law to have signs stating that they don't provide information on abortion and/or contraception or refer women to places that do. Women wanting information on these subjects need scientifically accurate information and people to talk to who provide information about ALL options without trying to force their religion on them! Proselytizing is RUDE, and this kind of blatant false advertising should be illegal! If it was anyplace else that used false advertising, they would be fined, legal action would be taken, and they'd be shut down faster than stink bugs can breed-why are these CPC's getting away with it?

And Sharon, there is NO connection between abortion and breast cancer risk, just like there is actually NO connection between abortion and mental illness! There are many women out there for whom being able to get an abortion has made a positive difference in their lives, and they have no regrets whatsoever about making the choice that was right for them! Women deserve better than to be told misinformation and outright lies, to say nothing of the CPC workers' attempts to "guilt" them into changing their minds by telling them they're going to be punished by God for their actions, blah de blah blah blah.

My body, my choice!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Colleen H. Colleen H. is an Online Campaigner with Care2 and a recent transplant to San Francisco from the East... more
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